Wolf Creek Cemetery Memorial Day 2018
Ninety degree temperatures didn’t stop 160 plus folks from gathering at the Wolf Creek Cemetery in Sterling Township for Memorial Day ceremonies. One hundred twenty US flags on veteran graves, hundreds of flower pots filled with blooms as well as massive century-old lilacs and spirea gave the cemetery a festive look on a serious day. Local folks have been remembering veterans here for over 140 years and doing it well.
The Veterans from the Cushing American Legion proudly marched in, standing straight as their weary bodies would allow, their 3rd and last stop of the day for men whose wars are but history book stories to be studied in school.
Children recited poems and sang, the Minister exhorted, the list of 120 names were read, the rifle salute, honor guard, laying of the wreath, ending with taps bugled across the silent cemetery as folks remembered wars and wars and their casulties that touch each family for generations.
Soldier John R .Martin was honored with the Legion wreath this year. The program over, folks visited and gradually drifted to the 1922 Wolf Creek School building (the Methodist Church) where the Ladies Aide had lunch read including cherry Kool Aide and potato salad.
The Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society continued its decade long tradition of researching one soldier’s name from the roll call. A grave with a Civil War flag holder – John R Martin, 1831-1899 was chosen this year. He is one of two Civil War veterans buried in Wolf Creek who fought for the Confederacy, the other being A. C. Neyman (Nimon Lake north of Cushing named for him). They rest among a dozen Union soldiers, at one time their enemy, but all grudges long ago forgotten and forgiven before they died, when old soldiers get together and swap stories of their youth, battles and comrades lost/
Sergeant John Richard Martin of the Alabama 47th Regiment, Company G, Army of the Confederacy
John was born in Georgia in 1831, moved west to new land in Alabama in the 1850s, got drafted in the 1860s Civil War and served the Confederacy four years as a foot soldier, one of 80 survivors of the original 300 men in his unit.
After the war, with Alabama in shambles, John, his wife Mary and their three daughters joined a group of 9 families who moved to Laketown, Polk County, Wisconsin in 1869 for a fresh start in life.
In Wisconsin, John homesteaded 160 acres south east of Wolf Lake. He lived a life of hard work, wresting a farm out of the deep woods, passing away in 1899 after having seen his three daughters married to local men. Many of his descendants still live in the area with names: Emerson, Lagoo, Doty and McCain.
John did not believe in slavery, did not want Alabama to leave the Union that his grandfathers fought to create. He and many of his Northern Alabama neighbors were caught in a war they did not think was right, but as men have done for ages, when drafted by politicians who start wars, put on a uniform and served.
We remember his service today, and the service of well over 100 other veterans buried in this cemetery today. Each one has a story that should be told.
The shade of ancient cedar trees made 90F feel comfortable for these farmers who joked “Well we could be hauling hay,” when asked about the heat.
That the Minister’s message was short and to the point surely was appreciated by the Veterans from the Cushing American Legion at their 3rd cemetery of the day.
The Lagoo family gathered to remember that 5 of their uncles buried in Wolf Creek were WWII veterans.
The home made desserts from the Wolf Creek Methiodist Ladies were standing up quite well considering the 1922 old school building has not air conditioning.
Great to see you are still above ground